Alone, but connected

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Technology development has thoroughly redefined and influenced the social relationships of people and has taken a new direction. With the proliferation of technology, everybody appeared to groove enthusiastically to the tune, and the idea that the barriers to contact had been solved brought a grin to everyone's face. Technology, however, is gradually leading to alienation, while at the same time making people believe they are related. At present, we are at a juncture in human experience where individuals have not given a deep and critical consideration to the realities of human contact technology and culture as a whole. The social networking sites have brought addiction diminishing the face-to –face communication. Therefore, the influence of technology on human relations and social interaction has proved to be a major problem. The focus of this paper will be on how technology wrecks the quality of human life and how greatly it impacts on the significance of social interaction.

Summary of Turkle’s article, Connected, but Alone

In Turkle’s article presented on TED, “connected but alone”, the great impact technology has on people's social interaction in the current global world is highlighted. The technology world bring people together while at the same time makes them be completely apart from one another and the real world. In her explanation, Turkle states that individuals who seek companion, acceptance, and interaction majorly resolve at using the phone in their effort to keep communication with other people. The articles state this to be a predicament that is growing in societies as people have chosen to rely on technology in life activities. Turkle explains that people do not give attention to their environment, for example taking note of who is in the room and funerals. All the attention is driven to their phones and due to this, co-workers, friends, and family have felt neglected. Turkle highlights that people are driving themselves into trouble and mainly on the aspects relating to relations and self-reflection. She notes that individuals email and text in corporate board meetings, while in classes and even during presentations. The skills attached to real conversations such as laughing and other facial expressions are replaced. Individuals have customized their lives and across the generations, individuals do not get enough of one another as they are able to control the amount they require. Turkle terms this to be “Goldilocks effect” (Turkle). The “Goldilocks effect” is a significant problem to the adolescent children who seek to develop face-to-face interactions and relations. Sacrificing conversations short-chains humanity while it has been a bedrock of the development of the children’s well-being.

Development of social robots have acted like companions and the confidence of being there for one another has completely disappeared. The aspect of empathy, as Turkle indicates is not revealed in robots and yet people still take comfort in them. Technologies of social networks extending to sociable robots have rendered life more vulnerable and caused loneliness. Turkle, therefore, does issue a warning that the constant connections made through digital technologies, particularly on the use of a phone, does not act as a replacement to the quality of face-to-face conversations. She argues that “bite-sized communiqués”, no matter how many individual shares do not have any additional value to the meaningfulness of interactions. Turkle further notes that the constant connectivity, in reality, blocks the real human connections. She gives a vivid example of a meal table in which children are ignored by their parents as they are busy on their phones. Turkle implies that technology has driven poor family communications and caused isolation in life. In her effort to deepen the argument, Turkle gives more examples in a captivating manner through explaining the long-term impact of technology on self-analysis, self-identity and the capability of one dealing with the effects of solitude.

In an effort to develop self-awareness and restore relationships, Turkle suggests some of the courses towards this desire. She notes that people should have the thought that solitude is a good aspect and start accommodating it into their lives. Individuals have to begin showing value in children and creating spaces that would reclaim face to face conversations. This should be done both at work and at home. People have to change and draw an interest in listening to others. We should not pretend to be too busy at work and not have time to cultivate relationships with others. Even though technology is changing the human connections, we should not stop caring about others and ourselves. On the contrary, we have to view it as a way of providing opportunities that affirm moral values and the right direction. The most important aspect is to recognize the vulnerability associated with the problem and promise ourselves to better everything. Another suggestion that she gives is that people have to love their families and friends together with themselves and eliminate the virtual romance that is associated with games, phones, robots and computers. When we stumble, we do reveal ourselves to others. Fantasy substitutions that have been made to the love of humanity have finally cost the present generation deepening pain of social interaction. If we cultivate the love for one another, we can take ourselves back to real lives and make life worth living.

Response to Turkle’s Article

Slowly, technology seems to be a destruction to meaningful social interactions. It disconnects people from the real world and causing the devastating sense of isolation. People have substituted conversations with calling and texting. The ever growing attachment to phones has deeply engrossed humans and contributed to a moral panic in many aspects of life. The example that Turkle uses of parents ignoring their children at the meal table is an excellent example of decayed morality arising from technology. Indeed, technology portrays a breakdown in traditional values of the family and the children’s desires of reaching out and talk to the older people have changed. The implication of this is that technology casts itself as causal villain posting a questionable call to the society that is worth stun condemnation. However, it is not late to change the annoying behavior. The social interactions among people could be improved if individuals keep away their phones and put more emphasis on face-to-face interactions.

The face-to-face interactions have been proven by many researchers to provide comfort and a sense of well-being in people whether with family or friends (Drago 4). There is an intangible valuable and real thing about talking to somebody face-to-face. These people become significant in our lives and the existing human connections grow and embodies while at the same time exemplifying real relationships. In the digital world, a false idea is painted that we have extended connections with people. However, the miserable fact is that this is not the truth. It is absolutely difficult to keep in touch with 1100 friends on Facebook and twitter, leave alone 300. What is the need of having so many people in our phone books and social media when we can hardly remember their names and even know them personally? People will posts status on the Facebook and yes, receive countless feedbacks but the quality of this relationships raises concerns. This provides a constructive example which implies that people need to begin pricing the significance and value of social interactions and accord it with the quality needed. In an evolutionary psychology study done by Mcgrath assessing the impact of technology on household, it reveals “People are actually limited to a certain number of stable, supportive connections with others in their social network” (Mcgrath 27). Besides, in another study done by Drago, it is documented that in spite of the present capabilities to have a connection to the many numbers of people through the use of phone and internet, the importance that comes with face to face interaction cannot be stated otherwise (Drago 4).

Although technology has permitted people to have a given degree of social connection and helped in maintaining the long-distance relationships that could otherwise fall to sideways, its negative effects are vivid. Emails, Facebook, twitter and messaging have seemed to hold the world as a one connected global society. However, whilst this seems to be a positive impact, the fact remains that technology causes the social interactions to grow thinner and thinner as time goes by. People, nowadays cannot imagine their lives without technology and specifically with their computers and phones. Even though everyone seems to glorify the improvements made on technology, they have to realize the detrimental aspects attached to this. It slowly ruins the quality of social interactions which is vital to people. Thus, individuals have to cultivate more significance in spending quality time with our families and friends and making relationships count for them to have lasting relationships and stop the heavy reliance they have towards technology.

Conclusion

Turkle’s TED talk is a wake-up call to the destructions caused by technology. Technology little by little pulls away from the real life communications impacting on our true self-identity and self-exploration. The messy world caused by the technology of deleting and retouching well known as “Goldilocks Effect” as Turkle calls it proves to be disturbing. Many people have derived a lot of identity in connection with others trough social media but encourage solitude and isolations. Individuals have to realize the truth and know that the world and its people have completely flipped sideways and slowly creeping into the world of lazy people. This brings more suffering than good. Even though technology has assisted in many aspects of life, it has indeed affect socialization and changing the human interaction worsening the standards of morality.

Works Cited

Drago Emily. The Effect of Technology on Face-to-Face Communication. Communications Elon University. 2015. Accessed on 26, Feb 2017 from https://www.elon.edu/docs/e-web/academics/communications/research/vol6no1/02DragoEJSpring15.pdf

Mcgrath Siobhan. The Impact Of New Media Technologies On Social Interaction In The Household. Electronic Culture and Social Change. 19th April 2012. Accessed on 26, Feb 2017 from https://www.maynoothuniversity.ie/sites/default/files/assets/document/SiobhanMcGrath.pdf

Turkle Sherry. Connected, but Alone. TED. April 2012. Accessed on 26, Feb 2017 from https://www.ted.com/talks/sherry_turkle_alone_together/transcript?language=en

October 12, 2022
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